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Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:03

Senate Considers Vote on Concealed Firearm Laws

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pistols“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For most Americans, the 27 words of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are not all that hard to understand: a citizen has a fundamental right to “keep and bear Arms” and as is true with freedom of religion and freedom of speech, this right is sacrosanct, and any effort to abridge such constitutional guarantees is seen as a threat to the fundamental rights of the American people.

Last year’s landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller affirmed this understanding, recognizing that the right to bear arms is, in essence, inextricably bound up with the right of self-defense.

However, despite such constitutional guarantees, a recent Rasmussen poll “revealed” what may seem obvious to many readers of The New American: the American people believe President Obama will aggressively promote further restrictions on the constitutional right of citizens to keep and bear arms. The poll revealed that 57 percent of Americans “believe gun sales are up over the past several months because of widespread fears that the government will tighten restrictions on gun ownership.” In fact, only 23 percent of those polled believed that gun sales had risen on account of rising crime.

According to press reports, the U.S. Senate will consider today an amendment intended to bring the law closer to conformity with the letter and spirit of the Constitution. On Monday, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would bring clarity to the tangled web of state laws regulating the right to carried concealed firearms. According to an article at USA Today Online, the amendment states:

(1) A person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of any State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm, may carry in any State a concealed firearm in accordance with the terms of the license or permit, subject to the laws of the State in which the firearm is carried concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may not be carried.
(2) A person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm, and is otherwise than as described in paragraph (1) entitled to carry a concealed firearm in and pursuant to the law of the State in which the person resides, may carry in any State a concealed firearm in accordance with the laws of the State in which the person resides, subject to the laws of the State in which the firearm is carried concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may not be carried.

At present, a complicated web of reciprocally recognized state-issued permits regulate such licenses for the concealed carry of a firearm. When traveling around the Union, Americans need to give careful consideration not only to considerable variations in various state and local laws regarding the right to keep and bear arms, but also to the question of whether their state-issued concealed carry permit will be recognized at all. Whether one is speaking of a trucker whose route carries him across state lines, or vacationing families who want to be safe while they “get away from it all,” citizens have enough to worry about without the added concern of questioning whether they may legally defend themselves from criminals. For Americans concerned about the preservation of their constitutional rights, the Thune amendment offers a step in the right direction on the way back to the simple language of the constitution: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

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